Sunday, September 7, 2008

Taxonomic Particularizing

What's in a name? Twitchell ( 1996, pp 205-207 ), Professor Emeritus of English and author of Adcult USA, reviewed the rising use (from no use before the 1930s to significant use today) of brand names in cultural art such as plays, novels, songs, and concluded "[the brand name is not] the illusion of reality; it is reality. The names, not the objects are what we know." The practice of replacing generic phrases such as "high powered motor car" with brand names like "Aston Martin" is known as taxonomic particularizing. Not only do marketeers use cultural art to create a brand image around a brand name, but cultural artists take advantage of the brand communication surrounding the brand name in the art they create.

Taxonomic particularizing is an interest area for linguistic analysis. Hubbard (1995, paragraph 8 ) makes the argument that the practice "challenges traditional aesthetic theories by turning the everyday and banal into art." Martyn Tipping (see Hein, 2007) said marketeers chose everyday words so the brand name explains itself. However, brand names and of course brand images backing them up have become postmodern art. Hubbard (see Postmodern)goes on to say: "Particularizing gives postmodernism a pronounced interest in linguistics insofar as it studies acts of communication and the play of language--the linguistic turn."

The brand names in Hein's ( 2007, p. 1 ) article such as Spykes, Belle Air, Tailwind, all exude the play of language. In my mind these "linguistic turns" that creative strategists conjure are the centerpiece for what Schultz (2001, p 1-2) believes is the purpose of marketing:"[to] create value for customers and prospects; for companies, channels and distributors; for shareholders; and for economies, societies and, yes, even governments and trading partners."

I believe this creation of value comes from the management of meaning in the communication process surrounding all IMC activities. Mission, corporate credibility, product, packaging, merchandizing, audience, theme, message, media, choice of promotional function, and the collection from and use of data in direct marketing must all have consistency and referential integrity. Further, these communications are placed in a social context so stakeholder feedback must be sought out to verify how the messages are decoded, to use the communication model in Duncan (2005, pp 106-7 ).

Duncan, Tom (2005). Principles of Advertising and IMC. New York: McGraw-Hill Irwin.

Hein. Kenneth (June 25, 2007). What's In a Name? Study Toasts Top New Brands. BrandWeek. Retrieved on September 5, 2008 from

Hubbard, Taylor E. (9/22/1995). Bibliographic instruction and postmodern pedagogy. The Free Library. Retrieved on September 5, 2008 from

Schultz, Don (October 22, 2001). It's now time to change marketing's name: Integrated Marketing. Marketing News.

Twithcell, James B. (1996). Adcult USA. New York: Columbia University Press.

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